What is mental illness?

It is estimated that one in five people suffer from emotional problems sufficiently distressing to justify seeking professional help. Their symptoms can range from relatively mild feelings of depression and anxiety to severe distress and dysfunction that threatens life itself.

Scientific, medical and social research is enabling a better understanding of the nature and cause of psychiatric illnesses and symptoms, and improved diagnosis and treatment are constantly being developed.


How much does treatment at Red Tree Practice cost?

Each psychiatrist and clinician has their own price structure which will be explained by the receptionist at the time of booking, with a slightly higher fee for the first meeting.  The majority of the fee may be reimbursed by Medicare in the case of psychiatrists and psychologists. Overseas visitors working or studying in Australia, who have private health insurance, may also be eligible for reimbursement of services.


Can I claim this on Medicare?

Most Australian citizens and Medicare-eligible Australian residents are eligible for a reimbursement of part of the treatment cost through Medicare. The practice is able to electronically submit the Medicare claim to access the Medicare refund within two or three working days after your appointment at Red Tree Practice.  We suggest that you check with Medicare for the most current information on rebates.

Many people are unaware of the Medicare Safety Net Scheme which limits the total out of pocket costs once the threshold is reached.  Please ensure you register for this.


Will I be prescribed medication?

This varies with every patient. Medication is just one option that will be considered by your doctor. A wide range of medications is now available for use in psychiatric illnesses. Medications can now effectively remove symptoms, alter the course of illnesses and commonly return patients to a normal life.

In some instances, medications can be life saving, for example, in a case of a severe depressive illness. Psychiatrists are highly experienced in prescribing and monitoring these medications.


What do I need to make an appointment with a doctor?

As with all specialist medical services, we will require a referral from your General Practitioner (GP). Your GP is able to write a referral that is valid for either 12 months of for an indefinite period. You will need to email or fax in your referral for consideration, prior to being offence an appointment. You can take a photo of your referral with your phone and email it in.


How is a psychiatrist different to a psychologist?

A psychiatrist is a qualified medical doctor who has obtained additional qualifications to become a specialist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness and emotional problems.

Because of their extensive medical and psychiatric training, psychiatrists are able to view illness in an integrated way by taking into consideration the related aspects of body and mind.

Psychiatrists are trained both to recognise and treat the effects of emotional disturbances on the body as a whole, as well as the effects of physical conditions on the mind.

This is particularly important, as many emotional disturbances affect various parts of the body and physical illnesses can certainly affect the mind. A psychiatrist’s medical and psychiatric training allows both the physical and emotional to be kept in perspective.


What sort of therapy is right for me?

The choice of therapy is very much an individual thing – we’ve outlined the key options available to help you make a decision and you are welcome to talk through the options with your doctor when you first meet.


What happens at the first session?

In your first session your treating psychiatrist will ask many questions to help gain an understanding of your particular circumstances. Occasionally, psychiatrists may need to order blood tests and x-rays. Your first session will usually be around 60 minutes in length, longer in some circumstances. Don’t be concerned if your assessment is not finished within the first session – you are a complex being and the team working at Red Tree Practice understands and respects this.


What should I bring to my first meeting with the psychiatrist?

All you need to bring to the first session is yourself – you are enough. Our team don’t expect you to have completed “homework”. If you would like to bring something along feel free to – but there is no expectation that you do.


What if I don’t like my psychiatrist?

We understand that you may not make the right connection with your psychiatrist or mental health clinician – so are always open to referring you to another member of the Red Tree Practice team or elsewhere.


How long are the sessions with the psychiatrist or clinician?

Sessions generally last for around 45 minutes, though we encourage you to allow up to an hour. Sometimes our clients also like to allow some time at either side of the session to clear their mind ahead of the therapy, or reflect on what has been discussed following the session.


How often should I meet with my psychiatrist or clinician, and how long will the therapy go for?

This is an individual thing.  Some patients will only require several sessions for assistance with medication.  Others will benefit from regular psychotherapy which is usually once per week.  Even once the more regular therapy has finished, our doctors welcome occasional visits with their former clients as a check in on how they are tracking.


I don’t live in Sydney but am keen to use Red Tree Practice’s services?

Red Tree Practice also offers tele-psychiatry services via high definition video conference, however this service is usually offered to people whom the psychiatrist has had a chance to assess in person first.